(1240) Galerida deva.
Sykes's Crested Lark.
Alauda deva Sykes, P. Z. S., 1832. p. 92 (Deccan). Galerita deva. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 338.
Vernacular names. Chinna chandool (Tel.).
Description. Lores and supercilium pale rufous ; whole upper plumage and wing-feathers rufous with broad blackish-brown centres; the upper tail-coverts more rufous and with the dark centres concealed ; tail dark brown edged with rufous, the outermost feathers nearly all rufous and the penultimate with the outer webs all rufous ; cheeks and ear-coverts mixed brown and rufous under plumage, under wing-coverts and axillaries rufous, a few dark streaks on the breast and on the sides of the chin and throat.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill horny-brown,, blackish on the culmen and yellowish below; legs and feet pale yellowish -brown.
Measurements. "Wing 79 to 88 mm.; tail 45 to 51 mm.; tarsus 18 to 19 mm.; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Young birds have the feathers of the upper parts edged with white and with subterminal black bars : the underparts are paler than in the adult.
Distribution. Eastern Punjab, United Provinces, Central India, Cutch, Rajputana, Bombay Presidency South to Mysore on the West and Madras on the East.
Nidification. Sykes's Crested Lark breeds principally after the break of the rains in June up to the middle of October but over much of the area it inhabits it appears to breed also, though less regularly, in April and May, more especially in the South-Western districts. The birds select either dry open plains or well-drained cultivated country as sites for their nests, building them in small natural depressions under tufts of grass or bushes, under which they are nearly always well concealed. The nests themselves are rather shallow, loosely-made cups of roots and grass or coarse fibre, the lining being of finer grass-bents and roots. The number of eggs laid is either two or three, though once General Betham found four in a nest at Poona. The ground-colour is a very pale stone, in some eggs practically white, in others tinged with yellow, grey or dull pink; most eggs are freely speckled all over with pale yellowish- or greyish-brown, often forming a denser zone at the larger end. A minority of eggs are more boldly marked all over., less densely and with larger darker spots of blackish-brown or purple-brown. In these latter the secondary markings of pale grey or neutral tint are more obvious. Forty eggs average 19.9 x 14.6 mm.: maxima 23.0 x 15.1 and 19.8 x 15.4 mm.; minima 17.5 x 14.0 and 18.3 x 13.3 mm.
Habits. This little Lark is a bird both of sandy plains with but scant vegetation and of better cultivated land covered with crops and pasture. It sings both whilst flying and when seated on the ground and has a sweet song which makes it a favourite cage-bird with Indians. It is a much more rapid runner on the ground but in other respects is very much like the true Sky-Larks in its Habits.